A ‘welcome home’ present from Durban!

The best ‘welcome home’ present from Durban- a beautiful mamba and a kind family!

I was headed home yesterday afternoon, after a few days away working in Zululand. It had been a stressful week for me. It wasn’t the work, it was just life. We all have our worries! I am constantly stressing about something, it’s just who I am. So I was very tense and stressed.

I got home and unpacked everything, showered and got ready for an early night (had a birding trip planned for the morning!). As I got out the shower, I had a phone call from a man in Queensburgh. “Nick, there’s a massive mamba here in my neighbours yard, please help!”. He must have thought I was insane, cos I started shouting excitedly, like a mad-man! My mum was saying, “just calm down and stop acting like a loon, make sure you have everything you need”- mothers!

I jumped in my car and raced off, almost bouncing because of the excitement. As I got nearer to the house, I realised I didn’t have any worries, I felt like nothing else mattered. Mamba calls are thrilling, yes, but they are therapeutic as well.

I arrived and ran down the drive way, greeted by the neighbours son. The neighbour, a nice man who had worked with snakes, was keeping an eye on it for me. Both he and his son warned me that this was a real biggie!

I saw the mamba, it was definitely a nice sized one! It was curled up under an outdoor sink. As I approached, it looked like it was about to bolt- I needed to act fast (the dogs were on the other side of the small fence nearby). I quickly pinned It down with my grabstick, and safely secured the head. It was over in seconds. “WOOO YES!”- I was again sounding like a mad man, but there’s nothing like catching a big mamba!

After chatting to the homeowners, I realised how badly this situation could have been. The domestic worker went to wash something in the sink, without noticing the mamba curled up underneath. Apparently she moved a big bucket under the sink, and it suddenly bounced back (the mamba would flinched it’s muscular body out of shock). Only then did she realise what she almost walked into! That’s of course when the screaming started, and the panic came about.

Fortunately, it all ended well. The family who occupied the house must be one of the nicest families I’ve ever helped out. Not only were they so appreciative, but they were so grateful that I had removed this snake without killing it. They had so much respect for snakes, especially mambas, and explained they would never kill a snake. They were actually really passionate about snake conservation, it was just awesome to see. They had been reading about mambas in my articles in their local paper, which is how they got my number.

After chatting to them, and politely refusing dinner (I just wanted my bed!), I went home, with the mamba next to me in the passenger seat (in a bucket for release). When I got home they called me again, to check if I was okay and that if I survived the release (they thought I released it straight away, but can’t in the dark). I was touched by their kindness and care! A very special family, which I was happy to help.

I cannot deny that catching the mamba was the best feeling of the night, but just meeting people who were so passionate about snakes and conserving them, was a special moment. I’m so thankful to them for the way they treated the whole situation and the snake. A big thanks to the neighbours for their assistance too!
I am also thankful to the mamba for clearing my head of worry, payback for me saving it. Cheers my mamba friend!

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